Most of the Norse people lived on farms and in longhouses that were about 30 meters long (large hall like buildings). The walls were made of timber or stone and a thick turf roof to retain heat. In the very center of the house was the fire pit (hearth), to heat and provide light to everyone inside. Family members, live stock and farm workers all lived under the same roof, and originally it was one single room but eventually they made it into several rooms. The town people lived close together and in houses made of wood, wattle and daub, they had enough room for a yard, rubbish pit and workshop.
Surprisingly the thought to be dirty and barbaric Vikings, were actually quite cleanly. Ornate combs, used by men and women, were one of the most commonly found artifacts at their settlements. Also found at these settlements were bejeweled gold and silver brooches, rings and necklaces. As a result of clothes decaying over thousands of years it was hard to know exactly what the Norse people wore, but based on ancient paintings we can assume the Norse women wore woolen or linen smocks with brooches. Women who were married also wore scarves on their heads. Men were thought to have worn woolen tunics over trousers. Norse outfits also included cloaks and caps in winter.
When woman gave birth, they were surrounded by only women, and they were in kneeling position on the floor and as the birth progressed it was elbow to knee position and the baby was taken out from behind. If the births were difficult, woman would sing songs to the gods to ask for help.
A tradition held by the Norse people is having feasts. They held these after things such as, a marriage, successful trade, or raid. At the feast the meal consisted of pork meat, goat meat, beef and bread that had seeds to add flavor. The Norse people drank wine, beer and mead, a strong alcoholic drink made from honey.
Another ritual they had was carving runes (their alphabet) into their weapons; they believed this gave them protection during battle.
One of the many festivals that the Norse celebrated was Jul; a festival of 12 nights. This is the most important holiday of all. On the night of December 20th the god Ingvi Freyr rides over the earth on the back of his shining boar bringing light and love back into the world. This story later evolved and changed into the god Wotan (Odin) charging across the sky on his eight legged horse a sleipnir. Children would leave hay and sugar in their boots for sleipnir, in return Wotan would leave them a gift for their kindness. The grey bearded Wotan turned into Santa Claus, and the eight legged horse sleipnir became the reindeer.
One of the most prominent rituals was sacrificing (blot), and a communal feasting on the meat of the animal that was sacrificed, and drinking beer and mead were also a large part in the feasts.
The Norse people had their own kind of alphabet;
“One of the ways that historians have gained an insight into the lives of the Norse people is through their written relics, mostly found on stone memorials. The Norse people wrote using the 16 runes (letters) of the futhork (alphabet). Each rune not only represents a phonetic sound (like the modern-day alphabet), but can also represent an object. The first rune, for example, can not only be read as 'f,' but can mean 'cattle' or 'wealth.'”
As a result of having no paper they carved runes into bones, weapons, and rocks, wood and metal. The runes were used to label, and keep track of items. They were also very crafty people; the women made clothes themselves and the men repaired the farm equipment and weapons themselves. Tapestries and embroideries were found at their settlement as well as flutes and panpipes. This gives us a glimpse into their life, and their possible love of music.
One of the largest icons in the Norse culture is the Viking ship it was used as a war and trading vessel but had an incredible design and art. The largest art we have from this time